Growlers have been a staple at craft breweries for years, since they allow loyal customers to keep taking home new varieties of beer without having to purchase an entire pack or case. However, there are also alternatives that are more convenient, easier to buy, and offer the same amount of beer that can be found in a typical howler or 32-ounce growler.
Let’s compare crowlers versus growlers, side by side, including everything a brewer needs to know about both options.
Typical Beer Crowler Size vs. Growlers
How Many Beers Are in a Crowler?
Weighing in at 32 ounces, the typical Crowler can holds two full pints of your craft beer—similar to a howler. They’re great for selling to customers who want to share a pint with a friend or family member who likes your beer as much as they do.
However, there are other can sizes available that can provide the same amount of beer when sold in packs. For example, offering a pack of four 16-ounce cans of beer gives your customer the same amount of beer that they would get in a standard 64-ounce growler, and each one can be a different beer!
How Many Beers Are in a Growler?
If you’re looking for ways to provide a lot of beer to your customers, growlers are a great option. The most popular growler size at craft breweries is 64 ounces, which can hold the equivalent of more than five 12-ounce cans of beer, making them great for sampling beers without purchasing a whole pack or case.
Are Crowlers Refillable?
Since they are made of aluminum and sealed like a typical beer or soda can, crowlers are not refillable. However, unlike some other methods of storing beer, crowlers are easy to recycle, since aluminum cans are accepted at most recycling centers. From there, your customers can just purchase a new can for the same price every time.
One of the biggest benefits of using a growler is that they are refillable and can be used over and over again. However, growlers have a higher upfront cost than crowlers. Most brewers charge a small fee for refilling a growler bottle—after all, that craft beer isn’t going to brew or pour itself. Plus, more beer is likely to go to waste since growlers have to be filled to the point of overflowing, rather than leaving headroom at the top of the bottle.
Even more, cleaning out growler bottles can be a hassle—and a risky one at that. Most people don’t have industrial-grade dishwashers at home, so cleaning a growler at home comes with a possibility of leftover residue or bacteria being left behind to flourish in the bottle.
How Long Does Beer Last in a Crowler?
Like other kinds of cans, crowlers store your craft beer in an airtight, sterilized container that’s both carbonated and under pressure. Since the cans are made of aluminum, they’re able to keep beer fresh for weeks.
By some estimates, crowlers can keep beer carbonated and as fresh as they would taste from the tap for up to 30 days, especially if they’re being refrigerated. This allows you to expand your brewery’s business more than you would be able to with a glass growler.
How Long Does Beer Last in a Growler?
Growlers do not have a long shelf life. Most beer poured into a growler is not pressurized as well as canned beer, meaning that it’s likely to go stale and flat after a few days of oxidizing, even if you don’t leave headspace in your customer’s bottle.
All told, it takes roughly three days for the beer in a growler to lose its carbonation and freshness, at which point it should be thrown out for safety.
Refilling a Growler
One of the most notable benefits of using a growler is that the large bottle can be refilled. While this is a great idea in theory, for a lot of beer enthusiasts it means having to lug the bottle all the way back to the brewery to be refilled.
Given how easy it is to forget things at home when they aren’t part of your regular routine when you go out—to the brewery or otherwise—it’s also more likely that your customers’ growlers will sit gathering dust in their pantry or cabinet.
Getting More Beer with a Crowler
Picture yourself in your customer’s shoes: You’ve had a long, hard week at work and just want to stock up on a few pints of your favorite craft beer so you can enjoy them over the course of the weekend. However, when you get to the brewery, you find that the bar is packed and the bartender can barely keep up. You might have to wait 30 minutes or more before they’re even able to help you top off—if you have a glass growler that you actually remembered to bring with you this time.
Of course, another alternative that takes no more than a few minutes is to grab an ice-cold crowler from the tap or a pack of them from the cooler, bring it to the cashier, and be on your way to enjoy the freshest brews possible.
In short, crowlers make it easy for your customers to stock up on their favorite craft beer, often within a matter of minutes.
Using a Crowler Machine for Your Beer
Using a beer canning machine that can accommodate a Crowler allows your customers to enjoy your beer at home, with more convenience than a typical glass growler or howler.
For example, filling a growler can take several minutes, especially if your customer’s bottle isn’t clean or sterilized. On the other hand, using a beer can seamer like the Model 8 allows you to seal a 32-ounce can of beer in seconds, with minimal hassle or spilling.
Using a can seamer to provide crowlers to your customers also allows you to open up a new revenue stream, all while continuing to provide tap-fresh beer they can bring home to enjoy.